Pete Fountain and his Basin Street Six

Pete Fountain and his Basin Street SixGeorge Girard (1930-57) could have been a big star but his life was tragically cut short by cancer. A technically skilled Dixieland/swing trumpeter with an attractive tone and a melodic style a little reminiscent of Thomas Jefferson, he was also a personable and cheerful singer.

During 1950-52, Girard led the Basin Street Six, a group that also featured the young clarinetist Pete Fountain along with trombonist Joe Rotis, pianist Roy Zimmerman, bassist Bunny Frank, and drummer Charlie Duke. The Basin Street Six can be heard on two albums from the Mercury label and one apiece for Circle and 504.

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While it is titled Pete Fountain and his Basin Street Six due to the clarinetist’s name value, the music on the 504 CD (which unfortunately does not contain any liner notes) is most notable for Girard’s contributions. He takes appealing vocals on the original “Bonaparte’s Retreat” and “Margie,” and his lead and solos on such numbers as “Angry,” “Mahogany Hall Stomp,” “Milenburg Joys” and “I’m Going Home” certainly make one regret the brevity of this gifted musician’s life.

Pete Fountain and his Basin Street Six
504 CD 16

Since 1975 Scott Yanow has been a regular reviewer of albums in many jazz styles. He has written for many jazz and arts magazines, including JazzTimes, Jazziz, Down Beat, Cadence, CODA, and the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, and was the jazz editor for Record Review. He has written an in-depth biography on Dizzy Gillespie for He has authored 11 books on jazz, over 900 liner notes for CDs and over 20,000 reviews of jazz recordings.

Yanow was a contributor to and co-editor of the third edition of the All Music Guide to Jazz. He continues to write for Downbeat, Jazziz, the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, the Jazz Rag, the New York City Jazz Record and other publications.

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